Thursday, September 19, 2019

Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with three extraordinary things
 about a bookI recently read, Lanny by Max Porter.

The Story
Since I just struggled over a review for goodreads and I don't have the writing abilities of Max Porter, I'm simply going to repeat it here:

I'm not sure what to say about Lanny. No review that I am capable of writing can convey the originality of the story, structure, vocabulary (and typesetting!) in this gem. It's about some seemingly mundane things like the elfin boy Lanny, his resigned parents, a reclusive artist, Mad Pete, the English village where they live, along with its gossip-mongering, prejudiced residents, and a kind of green leaf-spirit called Dead Papa Toothwort. Lanny disappears, and the book becomes even more intriguing, puzzling, and compelling. In the end, free spirits win out over society and anxiety.

Max Porter uses words exquisitely to tell the story without quite spelling things out exactly, and to express the troubled depths of the human mind. He is able to combine realistic observation with surreal fantasy and have it all be believable. I had to hunt for this book and was finally able to read it through interlibrary loan. It was well worth the effort, and I highly recommend this strange and moving tale.

"What or who is supposed to manage and regulate Lanny and his gifts," he asks. "Oh fuck, it's us. Who can have children and not go completely mad?"

The Vocabulary
The author uses words exquisitely, in a way that is seamless and adds to the story, but is never jarring. I kept a list and found myself re-reading sentences out loud to myself, just because they sound so good to my ears. A few examples:

The Typesetting
I don't know any details about typesetting, but some of Dead Papa Toothwort's sections are a marvel. I went back to pore over them after I had finished the book.

I highly, highly recommend Lanny!

Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday thoughts.


  1. Clearly I will need to find this book to read it after reading your glowing review!

  2. I loved this book, too. I read it on my Kindle but then grabbed a copy from the library to look at Dead Papa Toothwort's thoughts on the printed page - they work much better in that format.

  3. As always, your review of books is incomparable Bonny! I am (now not so patiently) waiting for my turn from the library!

  4. WOW! I put a request in for this book after reading Kym's review and now am definitely glad I did (it has not come in yet though...). And 3 new words for me. I'd best have a dictionary by me when reading this one. Sounds wonderful Bonny!

  5. Lanny was a delightful reading experience!

    1. I agree completely! Now I have an (impatient) 12-week wait for Porter's first book, Grief Is The Thing With Feathers.

  6. Wow! I have Lanny but haven't even opened to cover. I see what I'll be doing this weekend! Thank you for alerting that I need a dictionary nearby while I read! Can't wait to get started.

  7. I'm so glad you liked it!!!! :-) I just loved every single (crooked!) word. It is perfection. XOXO
    (And Grief is a Thing With Feathers . . . is worth the wait.)

  8. I'm on the list at the library and now you've confirmed I need the book not the audio. (I love typesetting.) I did not enjoy Lincoln in the Bardo so we'll see!

  9. Lanny is on my radar--I'll definitely pick it up!

  10. What an interesting looking book! The typesetting is intriguing. I'll have to see if I can get it from my library. Clearly this is a book that needs to be read in a hard copy.

  11. the book looks interesting and I like the creative way it was typeset and published - that alone is a work of art!

  12. Interesting! Will order for my library. (It's my superpower.)


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